BODY & CHASSIS
Look at bonnet, door and boot-lid alignment and the chassis rails for indications of crash repairs. The front air-dam is vulnerable to kerb damage and cracking so look from low down and feel for any movement that will indicate broken mounts. Rust isn’t usually a problem but early E46s are headed for their 20th birthdays and it’s wise to inspect window apertures, check for bubbling around the sunroof, the wheelarch lips, lower doors and floors. Convertible tops should operate almost silently so creaks or groans as various components change position are indicators that maintenance has been skipped. Look for splits to the fabric or any staining. Worn rear sub-frame mounts can be a source of noise and vibration.